History of War

DEMOBILISING THE WEHRMACHT

“HE FETCHED TWO GLASSES AND IN RUSSIAN STYLE FILLED THEM TO THE BRIM WITH VODKA SO THAT WE COULD TOAST EACH OTHER.”

“I climbed up the cellar steps, opened the front door and stepped out onto the street … with a dirty white towel tied to a broomstick … the first of the Americans, a little guy, tore off all my medals which made gaping holes in my tunic … I wondered what would happen to me.” Henry Metelmann, a panzer crewman with 22 Panzer-Division wasn’t alone in pondering his fate as he went into captivity at the end of the war. The months leading up to the Nazi capitulation had seen mass surrender in the West in particular, with an average of 50,000 German troops a day throwing in the towel in April. One million more gave up in Italy and Austria on 2 May, and two days later another million joined them across northwestern Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

A senior Danish police official in the town of Odder, Assistant Commissioner Lemvigh-Müller, found himself in charge of disarming the local German forces, “At a meeting, on the

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